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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) proposed rule on the confidentiality of patient health care information, focusing on: (1) the authoritative basis in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) statute for some of the approaches taken by HHS in the proposed rule; (2) the overall pattern of public responses to the rule among a selected group of 40 organizations representing different constituencies affected by the rule; (3) the views expressed by those organizations with respect to sections of the rule that prompted an especially large volume of comments; and (4) concerns that would require legislative action to address.

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